Why Doesn’t Bonita Springs Have a High School?
This is an appeal to everyone in Bonita Springs but especially to my own grown children, their friends and anyone else who plans on raising a family in the city Bonita Springs, Florida. For the record, my children have purchased homes with the intention of raising their family in the 34135. They don’t realize it but they are at a very important crossroads of what could make or break life in the city of Bonita springs for young families. The future growth of our local economy and the retention of young families actually depends upon it. Continue: Why Doesn’t Bonita Springs Have a High School?
Did you know that the city of Bonita Springs is one of the only cities in Southwest Florida without its own high school? I told a friend of mine who lives in Tallahassee that and she nearly fell off her chair. She couldn’t believe how large our city has grown without having or getting its own high school. I had no explanation for her other than “there aren’t enough people fighting for it”. It’s true. The residents are going to have to fight for it to make it happen. That means you. That means me.
The fact of the matter is that our government and business leaders want to keep young families in Bonita Springs. They also want new families to move to Bonita Springs but there is an issue. We don’t have a high school. So, if you want an education for your children in a convenient location you need to put some skin in the game and actively lobby and fight for your high school.
Here’s a fact: The Lee County School System actually needs and is planning for another high school in south Lee County and they will put it in South Fort Myers or Estero … again, unless you do something about it.
Why should this even matter to any of us? There are parents, both married parents and single parents who cannot afford the time or the gas money to have their kids in football, band, baseball, cheerleading or any other school based club that takes place after school. The purpose of having a high school in Bonita Springs would be to have a well-rounded city infrastructure and to close the achievement gap for ALL of the kids in Bonita Springs. There are many kids who will miss out because “they don’t have a ride” or the financial means to participate so they can build their achievements and hone their skills and talents. Those are also skills that could get them into the college of their choice not to mention a scholarship for excelling. It’s really an economic penalty that the residents and children of our great city shouldn’t have to pay.
Now, keep this little gem in mind: The next “south” high school is going to be the bee’s knees. It will be a spanking new, state of the art school with the newest in education materials, tools and equipment. Why shouldn’t the children of Bonita Springs, the only city in SWFL without a high school, have access to that in their own back yard?
So, what should you do to help? We are swimming through the greatest social media culture in the history of mankind. The sad truth is that I can put this appeal up on Facebook and get one thousand “likes” on it but “likes” don’t move mountains, “likes” don’t register voters, “likes” don’t get residents to show up at town hall meetings and “likes” don’t get residents and parents to write a letter to any of the elected city council leaders of the city of Bonita Springs asking them why they aren’t fighting for a high school for the City of Bonita Springs. Certainly, I can’t be the only person wondering why they aren’t fighting for this high school.
The mayor, Ben Nelson, is doing his best but, frankly, there is silence at city hall. The silence at city hall needs to be filled with the voices of residents and parents who understand that a local high school in Bonita Springs is past due and much deserved. It’s an economic necessity for the people who live here and will be a major factor for any future businesses who will be considering the city of Bonita Springs as the new home of their headquarters.
Why is a high school important to those businesses? Well, their employees will move here and those employees want the best for their kids, too. We are currently not able to offer the best and the best is about to slip through our fingers. Major corporations will skip right over us if we can’t provide a decent education for their employee’s kids with the added convenience of the school being minutes away, not 30 minutes away, each way for the duration of their child’s educational and extra-curricular career. I won’t go into detail about how businesses moving to our area benefit Bonita Springs economically but they do. Heck, some of the current city residents will likely find better jobs at some of the relocating corporations, too.
Here’s the deal, it’s your tax dollars that will be used to build the next high school so those dollars may as well benefit your family, your city and your economic future. It’s our turn. It’s your kids turn. It’s the city of Bonita Springs’ turn.
Put this date in your calendar, January 14, 2015 at 5:30. It’s the date of the next City of Bonita Springs Town Hall. Please come, bring a friend, and share your ideas, comments, questions and concerns. I implore you to come.
I also recommend that you contact your city council members and ask them “Why, exactly, don’t we have a high school and why aren’t they [council] backing a high school for the city of Bonita Springs by lobbying the Lee County School board on our behalf?”
This is the phone number to city hall: (239)-949-6262 and these are their email addresses, below. You might also choose to drop the printed email off at city hall or mail it to them c/o City of Bonita Springs, 9101 Bonita Beach Road Southeast, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen McIntosh District 1
email@example.com Janet Martin District 2
firstname.lastname@example.org Steven Slachta District 3
email@example.com Peter Simmons District 4
Mike.Gibson@cityofbonitasprings.org Mike Gibson District 5
firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Lonkart District 6
If you aren’t sure who to contact, contact them all. It's three bucks in stamps and a few minutes of your time.
Then contact the Lee County School Board and voice your concerns. Call up the board and talk with Cathleen Morgan. She is your Rep for Bonita Springs. Let her know again and again and again. School Board office phone number: 239-337-8303 and her email is CathleenOM@leeschools.net
Very truly yours,